CPI(M)'s red flag continues to fly in Maharashtra's Talasari

Last Updated 11 May 2020, 12:54 IST

At a time when the Left parties' base seems to be eroding, the red flag continues to fly high in Palghar district's Talasari area - for a record 58 years in a stretch. Situated near the Maharashtra-Gujarat border, Talasari is around 140 km from downtown Mumbai and located along the highway towards Ahmedabad.

On February 15, the CPI(M) once again won the election to the posts of the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Talasari Tehsil Panchayat Samiti. Nandkumar Hadal was elected chairperson and Rajesh Kharpade was elected vice-chairperson unopposed. This is a Panchayat Samiti that has 10 members, all of whom are from the Adivasi (tribal) community.
In the elections held on January 7, the CPI(M) defeated the BJP and the NCP in eight of the 10 Panchayat Samiti (PS) seats and four of the five Zila Parishad (ZP) seats in Talasari tehsil.

In Palghar district, the CPI(M) won six ZP seats and 12 PS seats, making it a total of 18 seats. This is three seats more than the seats won by the Marxists in the last election in 2015.
"The remarkable thing is that the CPI(M) has been constantly winning the Talasari Tehsil Panchayat Samiti for an unbroken stretch of 58 years since 1962," said Dr Ashok Dhawale, a veteran CPI(M) leader and president of All India Kisan Sabha.

In October 2019, in the Vidhan Sabha in Maharashtra, the CPI(M) won the Dahanu (ST) MLA seat in Palghar district, when the Party candidate Vinod Nikole defeated the sitting BJP MLA.

The Dahanu seat now comprises the entire Talasari tehsil and large parts of Dahanu tehsil. The Dahanu (earlier Jawhar) MLA seat has been won by the CPI (M) in nine of the 10 Assembly elections held in the last 42 years since 1978, with the sole exception of 2014.

What is also significant is that five different candidates of the Party have won this MLA seat since 1978.

The twin Thane-Palghar districts have the glorious legacy of the Warli Adivasi Revolt against landlordism that began 75 years ago, in 1945, under the banner of the Communist Party and the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS).

"The legendary leaders of this struggle were Comrade Shamrao Parulekar and Comrade Godavari Parulekar. Both of them were successively elected to the CPI(M) Central Committee," Dhawale said.

In 1957, during the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement, Shamrao Parulekar was elected as MP to the Lok Sabha from Thane district. Godavari Parulekar was elected national president of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) at its Golden Jubilee conference at Patna in 1986. "We work at the grassroots and take up the cause of the tribal people," said Nikole, who once used to sell tea and vada pao and has now marched to Vidhan Bhavan.

The two key issues here are infrastructure development and malnutrition. The community largely comprises tribal folk engaged in farming and fishing. Talasari has a population of 154,217 living in 21,539 households across 185 villages and 21 panchayats. Nearly 90% of the residents are below the poverty line. The area is home to tribal communities specialising in Warli painting, a tribal art form prevalent in the North Sahyadri mountain ranges.

A couple of years ago, when Adivasis and farmers undertook the famous foot march from Nashik to Mumbai, a large number of people had joined it.

(Published 19 February 2020, 06:10 IST)

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